Trinitarian scholars admit it!

In “The New Catholic Encyclopedia” (Bearing the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, indicating official approval) we get a glimpse of how the concept of the Trinity was not introduced into Christianity until close to four hundred years after Jesus (pbuh):

“…….It is difficult in the second half of the 20th century to offer a clear, objective and straightforward account of the revelation, doctrinal evolution, and theological elaboration of the Mystery of the trinity. Trinitarian discussion, Roman Catholic as well as other, present a somewhat unsteady silhouette.

Two things have happened. There is the recognition on the part of exegetes and Biblical theologians, including a constantly growing number of Roman Catholics, that one should not speak of Trinitarianism in the New Testament without serious qualification.

There is also the closely parallel recognition on the part of historians of dogma and systematic theologians that when one does speak of an unqualified Trinitarianism, one has moved from the period of Christian origins to, say, the last quadrant of the 4th century. It was only then that what might be called the definitive Trinitarian dogma

‘One God in three Persons’ became thoroughly assimilated into Christian life and thought … it was the product of 3 centuries of doctrinal development” (emphasis added).

“The New Catholic Encyclopedia” Volume XIV, p. 295.

They admit it!. Jesus’ twelve apostles lived and died never having heard of any “Trinity” !

Did Jesus leave his closest and dearest followers so completely and utterly baffled and lost that they never even realized the “true” nature of God? Did he leave them in such black darkness that neither they nor their children, nor yet their children’s children would ever come to recognize the “true” nature of the One they are to worship?

Do we really want to allege that Jesus was so thoroughly incompetent in the discharge of his duties that he left his followers in such utter chaos that it would take them fully three centuries after his departure to finally piece together the nature of the One whom they are to worship?

Why did Jesus never, even once, just say “God, the Holy Ghost and I are three Persons in one Trinity. Worship all of us as one”? If he had only chosen to make just one such explicit statement to them he could have relieved Christianity of centuries of bitter disputes, division, and animosity.

Tom Harpur writes in his book “For Christ’s Sake”:

“What is most embarrassing for the church is the difficulty of proving any of these statements of dogma from the new Testament documents. You simply cannot find the doctrine of the Trinity set out anywhere in the Bible. St. Paul has the highest view of Jesus’ role and person, but nowhere does he call him God. Nor does Jesus himself anywhere explicitly claim to be the second person in the Trinity, wholly equal to his heavenly Father.

As a pious Jew, he would have been shocked and offended by such an Idea….(this is) in itself bad enough. But there is worse to come. This research has lead me to believe that the great majority of regular churchgoers are, for all practical purposes, tritheists. That is, they profess to believe in one God, but in reality they worship three..”

In “The Dictionary of the Bible,” bearing the Nihil Obstat, Imprimatur, and Imprimi Potest (official Church seals of approval), we read:

“the trinity of God is defined by the Church as the belief that in God are three persons who subsist in one nature. That belief as so defined was reached only in the 4th and 5th centuries AD and hence is not explicitly and formally a biblical belief.”

The Dictionary of the Bible, John L. McKenzie, S.J., p. 899

And also:

“According to orthodox Christian doctrine, God is one nature in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. No one of them precedes or created the others or stands above them in power or dignity. In precise theological terms, they are one in substance (or essence), coeternal, and coequal. The doctrine so stated does not appear in Scripture, …

The orthodox doctrine of the Trinity was hammered out gradually over a period of three centuries or more…Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the coeternity and coequality of the divine persons remained a matter of theological dispute, and so are frequently discussed in the context of heresy… In 381 the bishops convened again at Constantinople and set forth the orthodox doctrine in its final form”

A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature, David Lyle Jeffrey, p. 785

“Because the Trinity is such an important part of later Christian doctrine, it is striking that the term does not appear in the New Testament. Likewise, the developed concept of three coequal partners in the Godhead found in later creedal formulations cannot be clearly detected within the confines of the canon … While the New Testament writers say a great deal about God, Jesus, and the Spirit of each, no New Testament writer expounds on the relationship among the three in the detail that later Christian writers do.”

The Oxford Companion to the Bible, Bruce Metzger and Michael Coogan, p. 782

“In the Old Testament, the Unity of God was clearly affirmed. The Jewish creed, repeated in every synagogue today, was ‘Hear, 0 Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord (Deut. 6:4). This was the faith of the first Christians, so Paul writes, ‘There is one God and Father of all, Who is above all and through all and in you all” (Eph. 4:6).

But gradually some addition or modification of this creed was found necessary. Christians were fully persuaded of the Deity of Jesus Christ and later of the Deity of the Holy Spirit, and they were compelled to relate these convictions with their belief in the Unity of God. During many years, the problem was discussed and many explanations were attempted. One advanced by Sabellius,

that became fairly popular was that Christ and the Holy Spirit were successive manifestations of the Supreme Being, but finally, the belief prevailed that the words Father, Son, Spirit, declared eternal distinctions in the Godhead. That is, that the Trinity of Manifestation revealed a Tri-unity of Being. In other words,’ that Christ and the Holy Spirit were coeternal with the Father. With the exceptions of the Unitarians, this is the belief of Christendom today”

Christadelphianism, F. J. Wilkin, M.A., D.D, The Australian Baptist, Victoria.

Amazing! In spite of his belief in the doctrine of the “trinity,” Mr. Wilkin has just himself admitted that the doctrine should not be sought after in the Bible, nor did the disciples of Jesus preach it, and that those who accepted it did not get it from the Bible, rather they started out with their own preconceived concepts and then did their best to make the Bible endorse their preconceptions, and finally, that it was only “adopted” by the Church after many years of contention and experimentation, because members were “fully persuaded of the Deity of Jesus Christ, and later of the Deity of the Holy Spirit.”

When Jesus was on earth, Judaism was the only purely monotheistic religion in the region, having become surrounded by endless waves of “trinities” from the surrounding nations of the Romans, Greeks, Babylonians and Egyptians (see chapter 3). So, why did Jesus (pbuh) chose to allow the very first generations after him to remain steeped in ignorance and division, to live and die never having heard of any “trinity,” and only choose to bring enlightenment to the creed-writers and neo-platonic philosophers of the fourth century CE?

The Encyclopaedia Britannica states under the heading “Trinity”:

“in Christian doctrine, the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three persons in one Godhead Neither the word Trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament,… The Council of Nicaea in 325 stated the crucial formula for that doctrine in its confession that the Son is ‘of the same substance [homoousios] as the Father,’ even though it said very little about the Holy Spirit. Over the next half century,

Athanasius defended and refined the Nicene formula, and, by the end of the 4th century, under the leadership of Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus (the Cappadocian Fathers), the doctrine of the Trinity took substantially the form it has maintained ever since.”

(for more please read section, coming up soon)

Let us conclude this section with a very eloquent example which was once presented by the British scholar Richard Porson. One day, Porson was discussing the “Trinity” with a Trinitarian friend when a buggy containing three men passed by. “There,” Porson’s friend exclaimed “is an illustration of the Trinity.” Porson replied “No, you must show me one man in three buggies, if you can.”

For the historical details of how such a doctrine was developed in the first place